Held annually on April 28, Workers’ Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the tens of thousands of workers who have died on the job. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) creates designated this day to both recognize workers who lost their lives on the job, and to bring attention to the importance of creating a safe workplace.
“Workers’ Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. It is also the day OSHA was established in 1971. ” per OSHA’s official website.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLR), 4,383 workers lost their lives due to a work-related injury or illness in 2012. This translates into 12 workers being killed each day. It’s a grim statistic, but it’s also one that should serve as a reminder for employers to follow the guidelines set forth by the OSHA. Some employers view regulations as nothing more than a hassle that disrupts their normal business operations, but the OSHA’s ultimate goal is to create safe working environments for the country’s some 75.3 million workers. O
n a positive note, the OSHA is credited with saving the lives of nearly half a million workers since the law was signed into effect some 40+ years ago. The increased regulations enacted by the OSHA have encouraged safer working conditions in all industries. But there’s still more work that needs to be done, and the OSHA isn’t stopping now. Workers’ Memorial Day also recognizes workers who have suffered a debilitating illness as a result of their employment. The OSHA estimates that roughly 50,000 workers die each year from life-threatening illnesses and complications caused from their employment. This may include certain types of cancer, such as mesothelioma, as well as heart disease, infection and exposure to dangerous chemicals.
This year, the OSHA signed two alliances, one with the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association and another with the Workers Defense Project in Dallas, to commemorate Workers’ Memorial Day. These alliances are designed to promote safe working environments by raising awareness and attention to the work-related deaths and injuries. Although 2014 Workers’ Memorial Day has since ended, employers can still use this time to focus on safety. Regardless of your current workplace setting, there’s always room for improvement.